Forum for Feb. 3, 2023: ‘The Niceties’ is a treat

Published: 2/3/2023 3:07:33 PM
Modified: 2/3/2023 3:07:01 PM
‘The Niceties’ is a treat

I had the privilege of attending the current Shaker Bridge production of The Niceties in Enfield last Saturday night. If you have not yet discovered the Shaker Bridge Theatre, you have a treat ahead of you, especially if you were to see The Niceties this weekend — the show’s closing weekend.

I use the word “treat” in many respects — the acting this little theater brings to the stage is never short of excellent and more often than not, it is outstanding. The small size of the theater creates truly intimate and impactful experiences; this is especially the case with the current production. What also makes The Niceties impactful is the exceptional way in which the playwright, Eleanor Burgess, and no doubt its director, Grant Neale, weave together the complex and often nuanced reality in this country of white privilege for those of us who are white and the daily lived experience of racism and oppression for people who are Black.

Set in a history professor’s office in a prestigious university in Connecticut the actors, a young Black female student and activist and a middle-aged white, self-identified progressive female professor, unveil systemic racism through a series of micro- (and not-so-micro-) aggressions, implicit bias, and the overt system of power inherent in education — post-secondary and without much of a jump public education K-12.

So, when I say treat, be aware that treat also means being given the opportunity to see the world as it is more clearly and perhaps, as a result, take another step toward dismantling the racism that is woven so deeply throughout our history and within our current day to day experiences.

Maura Hart


Russian reading

I read with interest an article that asked “Should we be patronizing Russian Literature and Arts when they are engaged in a brutal war with a peaceful neighbor?” It’s a good question.

I have recently re-read August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I ran into a passage that is quite apt to the Russia of today.

“Russia is doomed to be governed by fools; she knows no other way.”

There is much to be gained from reading the great works of all the nations.

Lynn Irwin

East Thetford

What if?

What would happen if Biden sends 5,000 illegals to Hanover Common? Get ready, they are on the way! And by the millions! Higher taxes, more drugs, more crime!

Jim Argentati


Nelson misses the mark

With his usual inverted perception of reality, Steve Nelson (“The mental impact of life among the armed,” Jan. 29) contends that fear or anxiety in the presence of weapons is both mentally sound and, of course, morally superior. But the more rational among us recognize this as an attempt to make (and to signal) a virtue of what is actually an afflictive psychological necessity.

Despite Nelson’s assertions to the contrary, there is no context in which willful helplessness is either intellectually or morally defensible, much less admirable.

Anthony Stimson


Commentary on commentaries

Often enough lately I find myself part way through one of your commentary articles wondering if I am being fed nonsense.

For example, in the Jan. 31 paper Greg Sargent (“Details of Durham probe demand a response”) writes that evidence shows no downturn in worldwide (8 billion) democracy if only we start by ignoring China (1.5 billion) and India (1.4 billion).

That would be nearly 40% of the world’s population. That is cherry-picking the evidence.

You should not be lending credence to such misleading stuff.

At the very least the headline should read, “The crisis in democracy is not all in our heads!”

Please exercise responsibility regarding the articles you present to us or at least their headlines.

Amelia Sereen


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